Place for the summit of the Koreas, symbol of the division

PANMUNJOM, Korea – This week's summit between the leaders of North and South Korea will take place on a mine-riddled edge and adorned with barbed wire, a reminder of the Cold War of a division dating from the end of World War II.

The talks will take place in Panmunjom, a village within the 248 kilometer (154 mile) Demilitarized Zone that was created at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. . On occasions, bloodshed and shooting have occurred here, but it has also been the scene of numerous conversations.

During a recent media tour, in a typical Panmunjom scene, nine South Korean and American soldiers, all wearing sunglbades with mirrors, stood stiffly and looked north, while several North Korean soldiers with helmets marched alone. several meters of them.

On the south side of the village, renovation work was underway at the House of Peace controlled by South Korea, where Kim Jong from North Korea A Moon Jae-in from South and South Korea will meet Friday at the third summit of rivals.

Several things you should know about Panmunjom:



Formerly a dark agricultural village, Panmunjom where the armistice was signed to end the Korean War. The armistice between the United Nations Command led by the United States on the one hand and North Korea and China on the other has not yet been replaced by a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula in a technical state of war.

Civilians do not live in Panmunjom, and the area is supervised by the United Nations Command and North Korea.

In the center of the oval-shaped village there is a group of three blue huts used as sites to discuss the armistice and inter-Korean issues. The huts extend along the concrete slabs that form a military demarcation line within the DMZ of 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) wide. On one side of that line is North Korea; On the other hand, there is the south.

Tourists visiting the area can enter one of the cabins after deploying soldiers as a security measure. The North Korean army allows its own visitors to enter the cabin.

In an unusual feature of the demilitarized zone, in that hut, visitors from both sides can cross the border and technically find themselves in the territory of the other country. [19659014] ___


The most famous incident in Panmunjom occurred in 1976, when North Korean soldiers armed with axes killed two US officers during a fight over American efforts to trim a poplar.

Enraged, Washington flew nuclear bombers B-52 -capacitados towards the demilitarized zone to intimidate North Korea. A relative calm was restored after the then North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, late grandfather of Kim Jong Un, expressed regret for the murder.

In 1984, a Soviet tour guide ran to the southern part of the village, triggering gunfire between North Korea and the UN Command soldiers. The shooting killed three North Korean soldiers and a South Korean soldier.

In November 2017, North Korean soldiers fired 40 bullets while one of their colleagues ran to freedom. The soldier was beaten five times before being found under a pile of leaves on the south side of Panmunjom. He survived and is now in South Korea.



Panmunjom – 52 kilometers (32 miles) north of Seoul and 147 kilometers (91 miles) south of Pyongyang – is a popular meeting place.

During the Korean War, there were a total of 765 rounds of talks in Panmunjom aimed at ending the fight. After the end of the war, more than 830 rounds of talks have been held in various facilities of Panmunjom between the two Koreas and between the military of the North and the UN Command.

Prior to Friday's summit, the most recent high-profile talks at Panmunjom were in August 2015, when the main Koreas negotiators met for almost 40 hours and reached an agreement that allowed them to withdraw from a confrontation caused by the explosion of a land mine that mutilated two South Korean soldiers.

The Peace House, the venue for the summit, is just south of the blue cabins. To get to this building, Kim Jong Un must cross the border, which would make him the first North Korean leader in the southern part of the peninsula since the end of the war.



Panmunjom has attracted many high-profile visitors.

-In March 2012, Kim Jong Un descended on Panmunjom and met with North Korea's frontline troops on his first known visit to the area since taking office in late 2011. He gave the troops rifles and machine guns as souvenirs and ordered them to maintain "maximum vigilance," according to state media.

-In 1993, President Bill Clinton visited Panmunjom when the North Korean nuclear crisis broke out. Days before Kim's visit to Panmunjom in 2012, President Barack Obama visited a frontline military camp south of the demilitarized zone and told US troops that they are protectors of the "freedom frontier."

-In 1998, Chung Ju-yung, the founder of the Hyundai Group conglomerate, accompanied 1,001 cattle north via Panmunjom twice as part of a gift that helped his company to subsequently launch a tourism project in the North .


Follow correspondent Hyung-jin Kim at

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material can not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.


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